Marines Deliver Water to Cyclone-Stricken Bangladesh
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2007 A pair of Marine helicopters lifted from the USS Kearsarge flight deck today with loads of bottled water, marking the first delivery of U.S. military aid to the storm-battered nation of Bangladesh.
U.S. Marine helicopter crews from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked with the USS Kearsarge, deliver bottled to Parisol, Bangladesh, Nov. 23, 2007. The shipment marked the beginning of U.S. military humanitarian aid to the cyclone-stricken country. Photo by Cpl. Peter R. Miller, USMC
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The 750-gallon shipment was delivered to a relief-supply distribution hub in Barisal, a city in southern Bangladesh.
“I feel ecstatic,” said Marine Capt. Andrew Traynor, a CH-46E helicopter pilot with the Aviation Combat Element for the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. “(This mission) can show that the U.S. military is not all about combat; we’re here to help people.”
Kearsarge and elements of the embarked 22nd MEU arrived off the coast of Bangladesh early this morning. While the ship was on its nearly 3,500-mile trek to reach its current position, Marines and sailors aboard the vessel tested equipment, positioned supplies and readied for humanitarian assistance operations.
“The delivery today is a start, but there is more work to be done,” said Marine Col. Doug Stilwell, the 22nd MEU’s commanding officer. “The Bangladesh government and military, in conjunction with relief agencies, are responding well to the situation. We will reinforce and support that effort.”
To focus U.S. military efforts on supporting the Bangladesh relief operation, a team of key military representatives led by Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and Marine Brig. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey, commander of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, the lead U.S. military commander on the ground in Bangladesh, met with representatives of the Bangladesh military, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Embassy. A team from Kearsarge, led by Navy Rear Adm. Carol M. Pottenger, commander of Task Force 76, also was present at the meeting, having flown from Kearsarge to the nation’s capital city of Dhaka this morning.
“All parties concur with the way ahead for this operation,” Stilwell said. “We want to support in a way that will have the most impact on reducing further loss of life and relieving human suffering.”
Marine Lt. Gen. John F. Goodman, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, in response to a request from the government of Bangladesh to the United States and at the direction of the U.S. Pacific Command, is leading Defense Department efforts to assist the people of Bangladesh in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Sidr, which devastated that nation Nov. 15.
(Compiled from Marine Corps Forces, Pacific news releases.)